2_generic_230The Pacific region has a relatively small population of nearly eight million people, from Papua New Guinea in the west to the Cook Islands in the east. The population is scattered across remote islands where often there is very limited access to health services.

About 80,000 Pacific people are blind and up to 250,000 suffer significant vision loss. With up to 80 per cent of visual impairment being either avoidable or treatable, these numbers can be reduced significantly with sufficient, appropriately trained, personnel and resources.


  • 75 eye doctors are required to provide appropriate ophthalmic services.
  • Around 300 eye nurses or technicians are required (based on a ratio of four eye nurses to one eye doctor)

For countries with small, scattered populations, such as those in the Pacific, the World Health Organisation recommends that "regional training centres" are appropriate facilities to meet the training needs.

The Pacific Eye Institute offers training courses that are tailored to the region's particular eye health planning needs. The Pacific Eye Institute develops its programs in consultation with the relevant Ministries of Health to ensure the appropriate number of people are trained and retained in eye health by each country in the region.

The Pacific Eye Institute is an initiative of The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ, an international health and development NGO. The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ is a partner to the World Health Organisation-led global initiative VISION 2020: The Right to Sight. The goal of this campaign is to eliminate avoidable blindness throughout the world by the year 2020. One of the key strategies of this initiative is to train people to provide eye care services.

This educational approach promotes Pacific independence and is inspired by the philosophy of the late New Zealander Professor Fred Hollows, who believed strongly in helping people to help themselves. The Foundation is also driven by Fred's philosophy that all people are entitled to adequate health care regardless of status.

The Postgraduate Diploma in Eye Care is the first eye nurse or technician training program to be awarded by a university in the Pacific region, and the Postgraduate Diploma in Ophthalmology and Master of Medicine (Ophthalmology) are the only eye doctor training courses available in the Pacific islands region, outside of Papua New Guinea (excluding Australia and New Zealand). The language of instruction is English.

The Institute is designed to provide work experience and training in an environment similar to the conditions graduates will work in when they return home.

Candidates are accepted into the courses when their home government agrees to recognise their resulting qualification, map out a career path for graduates and acknowledge the importance of building the strength of eye health services in their country. In return, candidates are required to make a commitment to provide eye care in a public health setting when they return home.

The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ negotiates with Pacific eye care personnel and the Ministries of Health to ensure that graduates will have the equipment, medical supplies and hospital support necessary to deliver high quality eye care.

News & Updates

Two of the Fred Hollows Foundation NZ’s best ophthalmologists have been recognised as Eye Health Heroes by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB),

Following the departure of Dr Jim Stewart, PEI’s second director, near the end of 2015, Dr Biu Sikivou took up this role in August 2015.

  • Feb 15- Feb 24      ------ --Wainibokasi Hospital
  • March 29- April 22  ------ Suva Settlements (Waileya & Nanuku) 
  • Feb 15- Feb 24      ------ --Wainibokasi Hospital
  • March 29- April 22  ------ Suva Settlements (Waileya & Nanuku)